If you are a locavore with a passion for Pacific Northwest Cuisine, the lovely little family-owned restaurants speckling San Juan Island are for you! Not only are you doing good for the environment by eating less travelled food; fresh, seasonal produce, meats and seafood are also jam packed with nutrients and simply taste better than commercially grown food treated with harmful chemicals. Plus here on San Juan Island, you can actually visit and meet the farmers and growers listed on your favorite restaurant’s menu. You truly get to know your food. Where there are quite a few restaurants on San Juan Island offering island grown fare, here are our favs:
1) Duck Soup Inn
This woodshed turned fine dining restaurant on a little lake in the heart of San Juan Island was a Farm-to-Table-Restaurant since before the term was coined. Not only will you find island-grown food on Duck Soup’s seasonal menu, but also foraged fare like mushrooms, seaweed and sea asparagus. Everything here is made from scratch. Signature dishes include Free-Range Duck Leg Confit, Steamed Westcott Bay Mussels & Clams and Jones’ Family Farm Braised Pork Shoulder. All entrees come with a side of Mama Bird island greens or delicious homemade soup of the day. The herb infused cocktails made with house made liqueurs and spirits from the San Juan Distillery flowers are just to die for.
Insider Tip: Check out the new this year Forest Lounge
2) COHO Restaurant
Located in a cute, historic Craftsman within walking distance to the Friday Harbor Ferry, COHO Restaurant is open year-round and, most importantly for a little town like Friday Harbor, open on most major holidays. Chef Tim artfully creates the freshest Pacific cuisine with a Mediterranean flair from scratch every day, and spoils with special chef’s dinners throughout the year. COHO implemented a Table-to-Farm composting program in collaboration with Sweet Earth Farm, one of their many local food purveyors. Besides outstanding dinner, a wide array of local wine and spirits, COHO has an enormous homemade desert menu, including house made ice cream.
Insider Tip: Try Coho Restaurant’s chef’s tasting, between 5 and 5:45 daily, and sample a 3 course dinner for 2 including a bottle of wine for $70.
3) Back Door Kitchen
This aptly-named gem is open from Spring through Fall and features a beautifully landscaped, serene outdoor seating area. The Back Door Kitchen serves local & regional fare with an Asian twist. Signature dishes include Pan Seared Sea Scallops topped with a ginger sake beurre blanc and the Vietnamese Duck & Wild Prawn Platter with a coconut-ginger-lime sauce.
Insider Tip: Have one (or two) of their twelve amazing specialty cocktails.